Tuesday, 25 May 2010

… The sacred cry. Liberty, liberty, liberty. This is the opening line of the Argentine Anthem.
200 Years have passed since the first Argentine government was established on May 25th 1810, defying the motherland, Spain. For two hundred years, our people have been clamoring for liberty
and trying to forge an Argentine identity from as many cultures and countries as exist in this world. The Argentine newspaper Clarin made a poll in which it asked the people what it means to be an Argentine. The answers range from the very worst (unorganized, corrupted, lazy) to the very best (hard-working, imaginative, resilient, brave).
This is my definition of Argentina, or what comes to my mind when I think about my beautiful country,

The school, especially the ones out in the country. Where the teacher breaks a pencil in two so two kids can learn.

The maté and the gaucho. Asado and dulce de leche

                                                            The newspaper stand

                                                                    The bus

                                               Laughing in class with Clemente and Mafalda

                                  Beyond his ideologies, we had a famous revolutionary

When Las Leonas play hockey, or Los Pumas play rugby, Del Potro wins the US Open or Manu fights in the playoffs, we all cheer for them:

                                     The art of the written word: Borges, Cortazar, Alfonsina Storni

                                  One of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. El Ateneo

                                                  The mind behind the bypass: Rene Favaloro

                  The art of music. Soda Stereo and Andres Calamaro. They sing the soundtrack of my life

                                                            The fallen soldiers of Malvinas

                                        Iguazu, Aconcagua and Perito Moreno Glacier

                                                                    Diego and Lio

                                                The people who cheer no matter what

                                                              Social unrest. Desaparecidos

                                                                  Buenos Aires

                                                                      Rosario Central

                                                                 The Flag Memorial

San Martin, the liberator. The general who helped us realize that fighting for freedom would only work if we were united. He died in exile, after all he did for the people not only of Argentina, but Chile, Peru and Bolivia. 


                                                                    My barrio

Argentina is the people who stayed, and the others like me, who for one reason or another left the country, but never abandoned it. No matter where I looked today, I saw the colors of my flag. Blue sky against the white mountains. In the car wash, blue soap against the white foam.
Fito Paez, a Rosarinian singer and fellow Scoundrel sings, “I’m not from here, or there.”
That’s exactly what I feel. When I’m in Argentina, I can’t wait to come back home in Utah. When I’m here, I only dream of going back there. My heart will forever be torn in two. When I was a little girl, I loved to read the dictionary. In the back there was a spread displaying the world flags. My favorite ones were always the Argentine flag, and the USA one, even before I knew what a country even was. 
Being an Argentine, is being conflicted. Always. The land of our ancestors versus the land where we were born. The place where we were born versus the place where it is home. All tugging at my heart with the same force, for different reasons.
Happy Two hundred Years Argentina. May the future bring us stability, peace, and wisdom to choose who best represents us. May we be free from ourselves, those traits that pull us down.

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5 responses to “Hear Ye Mortals”

  1. Crystal says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your country! I feel very similar but to me it's not about the country I live in, but the state 🙂 Love to read your posts. Keep writing!

  2. Scott says:

    Great post! I've lived in three countries, and I understand the feeling of longing to be in another place, no matter where you are. In fact, even without the international experience, I'm torn in similar way between my native California, which will always be "home" no matter how long I'm away, and Utah, where most of my reasons for living (wife, kids, jobs, etc.) are.

    But besides that, the post showed me a lot about Argentina. What a great place. I'd love to get lost in that beautiful bookstore.

  3. Anonymous says:

    That is not Alfonsina Storni!!! The woman in that picture is Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos!!!

  4. says:

    I agree there must be a confusion which I have seen repeated in the newspaper " la Republica" of Argentina of February 21, 2011. The picture you have used for Alfonsina Storni, is indeed a portrait of Puertorican poet Julia de Burgos.

  5. says:

    Excuse me. Not of Argentina but of Uruguay. It might be possible that they downloaded the picture from your blog.

Yamile Saied Mendez

Yamile (sha-MEE-lay) Saied Méndez is a fútbol-obsessed Argentine-American, Picture Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult author.

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